Also known as: Currant, SultanaLikes: Lots of warm sun, venturing into new and unexpected dishesDislikes: Lots of rain, being forgotten in boxes and stuck in oatmealHobbies: Sweetening up your healthFind him: Adding flavor, texture and sweetness to everything from hot cereals to gourmet poultry dishes to decadent dessertsMORE: Five Foods to Keep Your ResolutionsHe may not be the prettiest of ingredients you’ll meet around here, but what Raisin doesn’t have in looks, he makes up for in flavor and nutrition. Get ready, because he’s graduated from that little red box in your lunch bag to a very grown up addition to recipes at some of the top restaurants. True, Raisin can still bring his own personal brand of sweet fiber to your morning oatmeal, but he has big plans for your other meals, too.He’s a Cali boy through and through these days, calling California’s Central Valley home, but that’s not where he got his start. Raisin got his first big break in the Mediterranean thousands of years ago, when he was discovered in a vineyard. From there, Raisin quickly rose to stardom on the tables of emperors and began to travel the world, from his humble Mediterranean vineyard, through Europe and on to California, where the mild climate and plenty of sun now keep Raisin happy year after year.MORE: Watch Out for Side DishesRaisin’s big claim to fame is really his naturally sweet flavor (added sugar? Not his style), but upon closer investigation, his fans in the scientific community are finding that ancient healers who once prescribed him as a cure may have been on to something. Not only does Raisin provide plenty of quick energy and satisfying fiber to help with weight management, but he is also being shown to help with heart health. More specifically, studies indicate that enjoying Raisin as a regular part of your healthy diet can help reduce blood pressure. He relaxes in the California sun all day—he could have just told you he’d be good for your blood pressure.If you’re looking to get a little creative with how you spend time with Raisin, here are some tasty choices you can find at participating Healthy Dining restaurants:
- Cider Pork Chops with Apple-Raisin Stuffing at Super Suppers (320 calories, 10 g fat). Located in CA, CO, GA, MI, OH, PA, TN, TX.
- Appetizer: Calamari (Serves 2) at Teresa Caffe (170 calories, 6 g fat). Located in Princeton, NJ.
- Market Salad at F2O (340 calories, 15 g fat). Located in FL, GA, TN.
- Carrot Raisin Salad at Sizzler (100 calories, 6 g fat). Located in AZ, CA, FL, ID, HI, MT, NE, NM, NY, NV, OR, UT.
- Lite: Hardwood Fired Moroccan Chicken Breast at Elephant Bar (660 calories, 23 g fat). Located in CA, AZ, CO, FL, NM, NV, KS, MO, OH.